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« Miami Dade County Dog Bite Numbers | Main | Oregon Dog Bite Study »

March 11, 2008

Comments

S Kennedy

I have no personal accomplishment in the field of statistics. But there is plenty of evidence which gives proof to fact that altered dogs do not necessarily mean safer dogs. Although a recent study was small, the one which investigated only young children/the dogs that bit them (non fatal)-- that study showed that 93% of the biting dogs were altered. Socially speaking, if it was shown that most dog attacks come from lower socieo-economic areas, that's neither surprising nor does it prove anything about dogs being intact. It could simply mean poorer people dont spend money to alter dogs. It would not stand up in court if you had the right expert. Typically, higher crime rate, higher birth rate, lower education level/income are factors associated with lower economic areas, and it is not disputed that shelters in affected areas have higher turn in rates. All of that notwithstanding, it still does not mean the "unaltered" status causes dog bites. In fact, without more, that leap to such a conclusion could be considered tenuous.

Caveat

I agree. My personal opinion is that reproductive status, restraint method, sex, age, breed and all the rest, while of passing interest, are not factors in dog bites, attacks and the extremely rare fatal maulings.

Owner and victim behaviour are the determinants as has been shown again and again.

This study was interesting and as pointed out by a commenter at my blog, quite honest and restrained with lots of caveats about the findings. That said, I suspect that if media pick it up, since they never read the actual journal articles, we will be seeing stories trumpeting the 'fact' that intact male dogs are more likely to bite and that it's time for mass castration.

Forewarned is forearmed.

PAMM - People Against Mad Mothers

Repeat after me: "Correlation does not equal Causation."

Brent

I'm completely open to any of these being factors, however, there has been a ton of research on this topic and that has been little to any evidence that most of these factors are major determinants. The reality still remains that major dog attacks are really quite rare.

I think that prolonged tethering may have a causal relationship with major dog attacks -- even though the actual research on it is a bit spotty. The rest of it seems to be reaching every time they try to draw a correlation.

As you say, again and again it comes down to circumstance controlled by the owner...

MichelleD

Even if constant tethering doesn't contribute to aggression in any way, its still cruel. As someone that's was almost attacked by a seemingly friendly chained dog...I saw the dog's trigger get flipped as I approached and the lunging, snarling and barking was unmistakable aggression...there is no doubt in my mind its not a positive thing for a dog. Plus, there is mounting evidence that leash laws are actually contributing to increasing dog bites by curtailing proper socialization.

Inhumane tethering is also an indicator of the OWNER behavior Caveat mentioned.

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